Monday, August 08, 2011

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

This weekend I sailed my Laser in the Buzzards Bay Regatta. The winds on Friday were light and shifty creating some tricky challenges for the race committee. One race was started and then abandoned after an hour when the wind died almost completely. Only one race was completed. In all, we were on the water about seven hours.

There was much grumbling and complaining in some parts of the fleet. Some sailors even began to criticize the race committee which, of course, one should never do. But, having been brought up on a diet of Monty Python, I think it's important to always look on the bright side of life, which is why this post could also be titled Seven Reasons Why Friday at BBR 2011 Was the Most Awesome Day of Sailing Ever.

1. The long slow beat out to the course in light patchy wind took the best part of two hours, giving me a great opportunity to work on my light air beating skills. I measured my progress against another sailor who left the beach at the same time as me. One or other of us would find a little puff or a slight shift and pull ahead, and then that sailor would sail into a hole in the wind and the other guy would take the lead. What better way to tune up light air skills? Thank you BBR.

2. As we waited for the RC to decide that the wind was good enough to start racing I would occasionally sail by the committee boat and listen in to their conversation to see if I could figure out what their plans were. Best comment heard was when one of the committee came back from checking the wind speed at the bow of the boat and announced with delight, "We have 2 knots with a gust measured at 2.7!" Aaaah! A race officer with a sense of humor. I love that. Thank you BBR.

3. The abandoned race is a blur in my memory now. The mind does have a way of erasing painful memories, I am told. I do remember it was very light and very slow and I wasn't doing all that well in it. It was a good call to abandon. What a great race committee! Thank you BBR.

4. Waiting around for hours with no racing allowed me plenty of time to observe my fellow competitors. There were about 80 sailors in the Radial Fleet, almost entirely kids, and the 25 boat Standard Rig Fleet was mainly composed of teenagers too. I could hear their conversation drifting across the water... ".... and I was like.... and she was like... and my Mum was all like... and my Dad went... and she went... ohmigod, she was like..." Isn't it fascinating to listen to the evolution of the English language? Thank you BBR.

5. Of course, with all these kids there was a swarm of Mommy Boats buzzing around. Normally I would find this intensely annoying, but I was pleasantly surprised to observe some new Bad Mommy behaviors that I had not previously seen which gave me plenty of material for a new Mommy Boat rant on this blog some time soon. And don't even get me started about what I saw some real Mommies and Daddies doing on shore for their hulking teenage boy Laser sailors. The wussification of our sport is proceeding at an accelerating pace. I always like to get new ideas for blog posts. Thank you BBR.

6. Some people might say that the big shift that came through on the first beat of the only race we completed made the race unfair. It put everybody on the right of the course in the lead and flushed everybody on the left down the toilet. I was in the middle so I rounded the first mark mid-fleet which is no more than my meager talent deserves. Isn't that an important life lesson? No matter how smart you are and how hard you work, life's wind shifts have a way of shuffling the deck, punishing the virtuous and rewarding the unrighteous. Thank you BBR.

7. Ditto that big gob of weed that I caught on my rudder on the second beat that put me near the back of the fleet. We were in a hiking breeze by then and I haven't yet discovered the technique for clearing the rudder of weed while simultaneously hiking flat out. Was I downhearted? No!

Once again I reflected on a valuable life lesson. Just when you are feeling happy about your middling progress in life, you will catch a stinking, heavy gob of weed and you will lose your job, the bank will foreclose on your house, and your wife will run off with your best friend. Sailing teaches you so much about real life. Thank you BBR.

I could go on, but I think that's enough to convince you that Friday at BBR 2011 really was the most awesome day of sailing ever.

All together now...

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...


Sam Chapin said...

Wow.. what a long complicated thing about being glad you didn't drownd out there...

Sam Chapin said...

Great vedio --THANKS

bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bonnie said...

I was like, he was like, she was like, they were like...

OMG - are you also secretly Parry Grip?

Baydog said...

And the race committee was all 'let's wait to see if the wind picks up' and I was like 'let's not and say we did' and one mommy boat was tweeting and taking Starbucks orders. Hey, do you get any bars out here?

bonnie said...

fer suuure!

R W Rawles said...

IMO, there ought to be no postponed races. There is always wind. The problem arises when a current is stronger. But races should start on time. If there is 0.3 knots of wind, the course should be short and down current. RC's task is to extract results from whatever conditions present themselves. Fairness is the concern of the gods (if there are any). Those who don't like it should play golf.

tillerman said...

Well, that's a bit of an extreme position RW, but I have some sympathy with what you say. Sometimes a race committee can try to be too perfect.

Sometimes winds are very light. OK, so let's do some very short courses.

Sometimes winds are very shifty, swinging back and forth 30 degrees or more. So set a start line and a course for the average direction and let's do some racing in very shifty winds.

I think most sailors would prefer to get in a bunch of races in iffy winds than to spend a whole day on the water and only complete one race.

Those of us who spent a lot of our sailing careers on small inland lakes understand this best. If we waited for a steady wind of 6+ knots all over the course we would hardly ever be racing at those lake clubs.

But that's just my opinion. Others may disagree.

In any case, Friday was what it was and "when you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle."

Green Mountain Realty said...

This post brings back fond memories of my early sailing years, now I'm looking at used Laser's on the net, thanks for the post.

Tweezerman said...

If there's one song that always brings out a smile. A true kindred spirit if you also whistle and sing the chorus every time you hear it.

my2fish said...

Could it be that the abandoned race is a blur in your memory... thanks to PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon)?

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